- Sep -
9

The Gardens Cafe by Kathy G. offers special menu for Antiques at The Gardens

The Gardens Cafe by Kathy G. offers special menu for Antiques at The Gardens

Kathy G will host a special lunch prior to the lecture on Thursday, October 3. For $15 you get your choice of Honey Mustard Chicken Salad with a salad, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with a salad, or a Grilled Vegetable Sandwich on Focaccia. Included in the lunch is: the entree, tea, cookie, coffee, bread and butter. Please reserve your spot with Kathy G at 205.871.1000. 

We hope to see you at The Gardens Cafe!

- Aug -
21

Junior Board presents: From the Garden to the Grill 2013

Junior Board presents: From the Garden to the Grill 2013

Angela Schmidt of Chef U shared grilling concepts and drinks with students in the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone on Thursday, August 15. The students prepared Vitello Tonato, chilled veal with a tuna sauce. They also grilled veal burgers and shared cocktails. To learn more about Angela, Chef U and the entire menu, check out this recent feature at AL.com.

- Aug -
5

Southern Summer Chefs

Children’s Summer Camps: Southern Summer Chefs

Southern Summer Chefs at The Gardens, part of our Children’s Summer Camps, planted chives, mint, parsley and rosemary, to name a few, in kitchen gardens to take home so they can continue to enjoy cooking using fresh ingredients as they have discovered at The Gardens!

- Jul -
26

Children’s Summer Camps visits The Archives and Rare Book Room at The Library at The Gardens

Children’s Summer Camps visits The Archives and Rare Book Room at The Library at The Gardens

During “Passport to Imagination Station” in July, campers visited one of The Gardens’ hidden treasures – The Archives and Rare Book Room. Check out photos of their visit, and visit http://www.bbgardens.org/library-rare.php to learn more! To set up your own visit, email jkirby@bbgardens.org.

- Jul -
25

YouthServe of Birmingham assists urban forestry project at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

YouthServe of Birmingham assists urban forestry project at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

On July 24, several Birmingham media outlets the YouthServe Urban Service Camp Worksite at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Campers participated in an important urban forestry project involving the care of young trees. Campers helped transfer viable trees into larger containers.  Gathered first as acorns from the oaks of George Ward Park, the trees, once mature, will be planted throughout the city, especially in the tornado-devastated areas of Smithfield and Pratt City. 

Learn more about YouthServe by visiting their website. All applications and sign-up opportunities are available at www.youthservebham.org.

~~~

About YouthServe, Inc

YouthServe, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth leadership through community service.  Throughout the year, YouthServe programs include monthly service learning opportunities featuring community work days with the YWCA, Habitat for Humanity, Urban Ministries, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, and many others.   Youth leadership programs include the Youth Action Council, which allows young people to organize community work events and the Youth Philanthropy Council, which allows them to create and organize an actual grant program providing $20,000 to deserving local non- profits.  In the summer, the YouthServe Urban Service Camps offer several weeks of residential camping in partnership with the YWCA of Central Alabama.  Six hundred young people from eighty schools across the metro area participate with over five thousand service hours annually.  

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama’s largest living museum, with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collection.  The Garden’s 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens and 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths.  The Gardens feature the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living Garden, and Japanese gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house.  Education programs run year-round and more than 10,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually.  The Gardens is open daily offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

About YWCA

For over a century, the YWCA Central Alabama has been responding to the needs of women, children and families. The YW’s programs serve women, children and families by providing: affordable child care for low-income families; child care and after-school enrichment programs for homeless children; affordable housing for families and seniors and a full array of domestic violence services; and social justice programming.

- Jul -
17

Garden docents learn about plant families and taxonomy

Garden docents learn about plant families and taxonomy

On Tuesday morning, garden docents participated in a presentation on plant families and taxonomy. Gardens of study were Dunn Formal Rose, McReynolds and Southern Living Gardens. Melanie Johns, Birmingham Botanical Gardens plant taxonomist, enlightened our docents about some of the changes in taxonomy regarding some species found in The Gardens.

Gardeners, horticulturists and plant nurseries are mainly affected by taxonomic name changes which occur as a result of advances in botanical knowledge leading to a reclassification of plants. The great majority of cases happen when a plant is transferred from one higher taxon to another, e.g. a species to another genus, due to the reassessment of its position in a particular classification.

The only thing consistent in the plant world is change. Today the majority of botanists and taxonomists are working towards an objectively argued classification system. Many existing classification schemes are somewhat artificial because they reflect the viewpoints of individual taxonomists, rather than attempting to show the patterns in the way plants actually have evloved or how they are related to one another.

The adoption of such an improved system would benefit not only the plant breeder, but also all those looking for plant products and sources of beneficial characteristics, which may be found in closely related species. Name changes will therefore be inevitable as taxonomist move in this direct. A consensus of views should be encourage in order to find which names would be most widely accepted by the botanical community.

- Jul -
11

Bibb County Glades

Bibb County Glades

guest post by intern Ian Hazelhoff

On June 1, I was fortunate to attend the annual Bibb County Glades field trip for the Certificate in Native Plant Studies program.  Fred Spicer and John Manion led the charge on a spectacularly overcast day prime for botanizing.  Several other enthusiastic individuals, ranging from Master Gardeners to The Gardens’ Director of Library Services, Hope Long, filled in the ranks of our troop.  Insect repellant was applied, wide-brimmed hats adjusted, and introductions were shared.  In total, the fieldtrip itinerary listed three glade sites and concluded with a tour of the Cahaba River’s largest lily site.  Ambitious and driven by a unanimous desire to see some of the nation’s rarest plant species in habitats as unique as separate planets, we entered the glades.

To comprehend fully how this beautiful suite of rare plants can exist in such obscurity takes an understanding of this unique landscape.  The Bibb County Glades sit perched on small veins of a rock named Ketona dolomite, which possess higher concentrations of magnesium than more regionally common formations of limestone. Species that thrive in magnesium rich soils are prevalent.  The glades are also an “ecotone” region, where full forest environments gradually transition to more open, grassy areas.  Nestled within this gradient are species specialized to thrive with exposure to more light and wind.  Without a complete tree canopy, the glades represent an assemblage of highly specialized succession species existing in near total isolation. 

In areas with Ketona dolomite based substrate, magnesium and often aluminum levels are so high as to be toxic to many more common species found in the region.  As a historical note, Fred Spicer pointed out that seams of Ketona dolomite were once found scattered throughout Jefferson County, AL, however, these were the first to be mined during Birmingham’s steel boom.  Dolomitic limestone is a precursor material for steel production, and to think that it also supports the livelihood of some of the rarest plants on Earth!  With visions of steel furnaces and open pit mines at the helm, I quickly became aware of the true importance and special nature of the Bibb County Glades. 

As the fieldtrip came to a close, I found myself traveling the winding waterside road to see one of my home state’s secret treasures: Cahaba lilies blooming in their prime.  Pockets of lilies, with proud green stalks and exuberant white flowers, dotted the river’s center.  John Manion was quick to point out that the heaviness of the lily’s seed allows it to sink and become lodged between rocks on the river’s bed.  Cool water, sand, and fields of aquatic botanical wonder - not bad for a day at the office.

To learn more about the Certificate in Native Plant Studies series, and to register for any of its core classes, electives or field trips online, visit www.bbgardens.org/plantstudies.

Photos: Beth Maynor Young

- Jul -
11

Native Ferns and Their Relatives

Dan Jones brings “Native Ferns and Their Relatives” to the Certificate in Native Plant Studies series

Do you have an interest in ferns, yet find learning about them daunting? Would you like a to gain an understanding of where they fall in the world of plants, how to distinguish one from another, which ones are native and how to use them in your landscape? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then THIS this is the class for you! Dan “The Fern Man” Jones, Ph.D. and his wife Karen are two of the principle players in the ongoing development of The Gardens’ Fern Glade – one of the most comprehensive collections of its type in the country. Dan is a wonderful instructor that this will be the third time we have invited him to teach this class!

The class will be held on Saturday, July 13, 8:30 – 12:30 p.m. To learn more about this and everything that the Certificate in Native Plant Studies series has to offer, and to register online, visit www.bbgardens.org/plantstudies.

- Jul -
5

Arrington Plant Adventure Zone provides perfect venue for toasting The Gardens’ new community partner

Left to Right: Leigh Hargrove CGC, Deanna Cummings CGC, Henry Hughes, education director Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Doug Shaddix CGC, Fred Spicer, executive director Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Ian Hazelhoff, Shades Valley Rotary Club Intern

Arrington Plant Adventure Zone provides perfect venue for toasting The Gardens’ new community partner

On Monday evening, staff from the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Education Department along with board members from the Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham toasted the signing  of our partnership agreement.
The Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham’s mission is to support the community garden movement in Birmingham, Ala. As our new community partner, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is thrilled to support this agreement with CGC that supports our mission to have a greater impact through educational programming in the Birmingham Metropolitan area. 
Monday’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding gives us the ability to create educational opportunities that are mutually beneficial and leverage resources to meet both organization’s strategic goals and  missions.
 
If you are interested in learning more about the Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham, please check them out at  https://sites.google.com/site/cgcbham/
- Jun -
25

“Southern Summer Chefs” share their recipes

Children’s Summer Camps: Southern Summer Chefs

On June 17 – 21, Southern Summer Chefs was held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens as part of the Children’s Summer Camps series. The students were kind enough to share their recipes!

To learn more about Children’s Summer Camps, visit www.bbgardens.org/summercamps.

Miss Nancy’s Summer Squash Muffins
 
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups shredded summer squash
 
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla. Gradually add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in shredded squash. Spoon the mixture into muffin tin cups, filling about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted can be removed clean (45 minutes for loaf pans).
Miss Jo’s Pesto
  
3 paced cups fresh basil
leaves- no stems
3-4 large cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese
1/2 cup toasted nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground pepper (optional)
1/2 cup packed fresh parsely (optional)
Can add additional cheese/nuts to taste.
 
Directions
Puree everything together in a blender or food processor until it is a uniform paste. Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar. It can be frozen. Spoon pesto into lightly greased ice cube trays to freeze. Then, put cubes in ziploc freezer bag. 2-3 cubes make a serving. Makes 8 servings.
Fruit/Vegetable “Sushi”
 
Vegetables:
carrots, red/yellow peppers, cucumber, celery cherry tomatoes, etc (washed and sliced thin).
 
Fruits:
strawberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, pears (washed and sliced thin).
 
Base:
low fat cream cheese
pesto
sweet or savory yogurt dips
peanut butter
nutella
honey (preferably local)
small flour tortillas
 
Directions
Place a small tortilla on a plate. Spread with favorite base (cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, or yogurt). Place fruit OR veggies in center of tortilla. If fruit, drizzle with honey. Roll up and slice. SUSHI. :)
Dirt Dessert
 
Instant chocolate pudding
3 oreo cookies per serving
gummy worms
small ziploc bag
 
Directions
Place pudding in clear cup. Remove vanilla from Oreo cookies- use your own technique! Drop cookies into baggie, seal, and smash into “dirt” crumbles. Sprinkle on top of pudding. Tuck in some gummy worms. Yum!
Quick and Easy Strawberry Jam
 
This is a refrigerator am and not intended to be sealed and stored in the pantry. It will keep in the refrigerator for a month. Great on toast, ice cream and milkshakes. Makes 5 pints.
 
Ingredients
4 cups chopped, crushed strawberries
3/4 cup water
1 (1 and 3/4 oz. pkg.) unflavored fruit pectin
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
 
Directions
In large bowl, crush strawberries with a potato masher.
Stir in sugar.
Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring ocassionally.
In small saucepan combine pectin and water. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour into berry mixture.
Add lemon juice and stir for 3 minutes until mixture is dissolved and smooth.
Ladle into clean ars.
Let cool and eat. Yum!